EXCLUSIVE: Average Time Spent at Top 30 Newspaper Web Sites Still in the Low Double Digits

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By: Jennifer Saba

The average time spent at newspaper Web sites is still relatively low — an individual spends an average 11 minutes a month at the nation’s top 30 newspaper Web sites. In April, only half of the top 30 sites increased the average time spent per person, according to Nielsen Online data.

However, the Web site of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis can claim that readers spend more time on the site — an average 40 minutes in April — more than any other newspaper in the top 30, besting the nationals NYTimes.com, USAToday.com and WSJ.com.

Terry Sauer, assistant managing editor for digital at the Star Tribune, attributed the increase in time spent on site to a number a factors, including putting home page links at the article level. The idea is to get people who come to the site from search engines or links to explore the StarTribune.com further. ?I know a lot of sites do this, but it helps us a lot,? he said.

Sauer also noted the site has substantial community bloggers who attract comments. The site averages about 2,500 comments a day.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which tends to have a high average, bumped up the time spent per person in April to almost 24 minutes compared to the same month last year. The Houston Chronicle rose to 25 minutes in April compared to 19 minutes in the same month a year ago.

There are many reasons why the average time spent per person can vary including news events or even the number of visitors. A big spike in uniques — more people attracted to the site — could account for a lower time spent average.

Below is the list for the top 30 newspapers ranked by uniques in April provided by Nielsen (owned by E&P’s parent company).

For the same list in March go here.

Newspaper Web site — April ’09 (hour:minute:second) — April ’08

NYTimes.com — 0:29:57 — 0:36:41
Wall Street Journal Online — 0:07:22 — 0:11:56
USATODAY.com — 0:16:11 — 0:10:23
washingtonpost.com — 0:10:49 — 0:12:55
LA Times — 0:07:41 — 0:06:55

Boston.com — 0:09:26 — 0:10:48
N. Y. Daily News Online Edition — 0:05:41 — 0:09:20
New York Post — 0:09:09 — 0:09:10
Chicago Tribune — 0:10:08 — 0:08:13
SFGate.com/San Francisco Chronicle — 0:15:10 — 0:11:30

Newsday — 0:07:10 — 0:03:54
Politico — 0:07:07 — 0:18:44
The Washington Times — 0:05:45 — 0:02:54
Atlanta Journal-Constitution — 0:23:53 — 0:12:31
The Houston Chronicle — 0:25:06 — 0:19:11

NJ.com — 0:05:19 — 0:09:45
Chicago Sun-Times — 0:07:04 — 0:08:36
The Seattle Times — 0:04:59 — 0:12:38
MiamiHerald.com — 0:03:11 — 0:02:08
DallasNews.com – The Dallas Morning News — 0:05:48 — 0:04:00

Baltimore Sun — 0:10:24 — 0:05:33
Star Tribune — 0:40:11 — 0:36:19
Azcentral.com — 0:17:31 — 0:20:06
Orlando Sentinel — 0:05:58 — 0:08:07
Detroit Free Press — 0:18:04 — 0:31:44

Philly.com — 0:05:45 — 0:05:45
Boston Herald — 0:10:24 — 0:05:35
tampabay.com — 0:07:40 — 0:08:15
Seattle Post-Intelligencer — 0:10:31 — 0:14:22
MercuryNews.com — 0:06:08 — 0:03:59

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